Variable price and attribute transport system

Project details

Full project title: Variable price and attribute transport system

Sponsor: Tech4all

Centre for Transport and Society (CTS) Project Manager: Professor Graham Parkhurst

Contributing colleague: Danny Myers

Project partner: Loughborough University

Start date: March 2004

Finish date: December 2006

Project reports:

Project summary

The study examined whether a super-flexible implementation of demand-responsive transport technology could broaden the range of services available and increase overall utility.

Variable price and attribute transport system (VPATS) differs from existing, operating Demand Response Transport (DRT) services in that the same vehicle (or pool of vehicles) is used to offer a range of service attribute bundles, with demand for the bundles of varying service quality being discriminated by the price mechanism.

The broad aims of the study were to: conduct a re-analysis of the demand and supply of road public transport services, testing the hypothesis that higher-technology, more flexible approaches to transport provision would better meet the needs of the travelling public, including the travel poor; consider the operational feasibility of any alternative transport systems, particularly in terms of resource costs; and consider feasibility more generally, including any specific implications for the travel poor. The work has been conducted through a desktop feasibility study, although informed where possible by real world knowledge of transport economics and transport systems. The study was primarily focussed on the needs of urban travellers, but may also have relevance for rural travel markets.

The final report (see above report documents) was published in Spring 2007, finding that a VPATS system could in principle replace existing bus and taxi services, offering high productivity, a higher level of service, and a lower level of subsidy. However, significant market, regulatory and institutional barriers remain.